Pilgrims throng Vaishno Devi on New Year

Katra (Jammu and Kashmir), Jan.1 (ANI): Thousands of pilgrims have converged at Katra town on their way to the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir.

Vaishno Devi is approached through Katra, which lies 13 kilometers from the shrine, at the base of the hill.

"For the last two hours we are standing in the queue for ticket and I think it will take another two hours but still we are here for Yatra. So, we won't go without completing the Yatra," said Ashish Kumar, a pilgrim from New Delhi.

The Additional Chief Executive Officer of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Mandeep Bhandari, said this year number of pilgrims crossed 8.7 million, which is half-a-million more than in 2009.On December 30, the figures in front of me are around 86, 61, 000 and the number is slightly to cross 87 lakh this year, closing December 31. If we compare it with last year's figures, the final figure on December 31 closing was 82, 34,000. So, clearly there is an increase of around 5.5 lakh in the number of Yatries or visitors," said Bhandari. (ANI)

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